Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) president emeritus Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Thursday dismissed rumours that Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini had died following his admission at a Zululand hospital on Sunday to deal with his diabetes.
This followed rumours circulating on social media on Wednesday that the king had died.
“Since the announcement of his majesty the king’s visit to hospital on Sunday, I and those close to the king have been inundated with calls, seeking an update. This is understandable considering the respect that so many have for the king,” Buthelezi said in a statement.
“However, several false rumours have also begun circulating that his majesty’s health is being kept a secret, and even, most cruelly, that his majesty is no more. I wish to allay the concerns of the nation regarding these fables.”
The IFP founder is also the traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch and nation.
On Sunday, he said Zwelithini was being treated in a hospital ICU ward to deal with his diabetes due to “several unstable glucose readings” the king had over the past few weeks. He stressed that the king was receiving the necessary care and that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize was aware of the situation.
In his latest update, Buthelezi said the king was not frail in any way.
“His majesty entered hospital to attend to high glucose levels. He was not, and is still not, frail in any way. Even this morning, he is fully mobile and is continuing treatment for unstable glucose. His doctors preferred that he be treated in ICU in order to attend to this thoroughly.
“One wonders what kind of people would start such cruel false rumours that his majesty has passed, when he is most certainly alive. It has inflicted tremendous pain on the royal family and on all those who wish the king of the Zulu nation well.”
Buthelezi has bemoaned the false rumours about the king, saying he too was falsely declared dead at some point.
“Unfortunately, such grossly irresponsible behaviour has been seen before. Even I myself have been declared dead while I am still alive, once by no less than a senior SABC journalist. In the age of social media, false news is disseminated like wildfire. One can only hope that those who report the news on official channels would have the discernment to treat such serious matters on the basis of fact.”